For more than 20 years, the Design Museum London has championed creative thinking and inspired problem solving by celebrating the talent of the world’s best designers and architects. In those two decades, five million visitors have visited more than 100 exhibitions of contemporary design.
A core tenet of the museum is that, “without better design, better use of scarce resources and more innovation, the future won’t work”. As such, environmental responsibility plays an important part in everything it does, from the energy it uses through to the sustainability of the exhibitions it holds.
Design Museum London is benefitting from Experian expertise through its GreenAware attitudinal analysis, helping to prove a sustainable business model for future exhibitions.
In 2010, the museum’s ‘Sustainable Futures’ exhibition offered the perfect opportunity to deliver an event that matched their own green ambitions — and to engage with visitors to establish their environmental expectations. This was an important exercise, simply because delivering sustainable temporary exhibitions is a tough challenge given the increased likelihood of wasted materials used for one-off shows.
The museum decided that ‘Sustainable Futures’ was to act as a test-bed for new and better ways of running an exhibition, from the use of renewable materials through to the painting of stands with eco-friendly paint.
A crucial factor in success or failure would be understanding audience reaction, and whether visitors would be willing to contribute to a more sustainable exhibition experience. If activities are to be truly sustainable they must work within a viable business model — the reality is that environmentally responsible endeavours, no matter how well intentioned, simply won’t work if the money runs out.
The Design Museum London turned to specialist arts marketing company, ‘London Calling’, which in turn sought Experian expertise with GreenAware.
Experian’s GreenAware, developed in association with the Stockholm Environment Institute, incorporates the Green Segments attitudinal classification. It groups the UK population into 10 distinct categories according to their attitude to, and understanding of, the environment and climate change. Segments range from ‘Eco-Evangelists’ made up of those most likely to support sustainability initiatives, all the way through to ‘Wasteful and Unconvinced’— those least likely to engage on environmental matters.
GreenAware was used to assess nearly 900 audience surveys gathered over three years by Design Museum London and London Calling, producing some fascinating and welcome results.
GreenAware was able to identify that 48 per cent of people visiting Design Museum London’s exhibitions fell into the Eco-Evangelist classification. Consequently, they could be confident that almost half of their patrons would be eager to see sustainable activities and would be more likely to contribute towards them.
Linking the results from Green Aware to Mosaic UK audience classifications brought more good news for the museum, uncovering the fact that those within the Eco- Evangelists grouping are also more likely to be interested in cultural and artistic pursuits. Concern for the environment helped to draw 60,000 people to ‘Sustainable Futures’ and, using GreenAware to target communications more precisely at segments sharing this interest, there’s a real opportunity to encourage strong growth in audience numbers for similarly themed events.
It’s clear that the innovative partnership between the Design Museum London, London Calling and Experian GreenAware has helped to signpost an equally innovative and sustainable business model for the museum’s exhibitions.